The Adelaide Town Hall is home to an exceptional art gallery.
Delivered by Guildhouse in partnership with the City of Adelaide, ART WORKS 2020 is a program of residencies and creative engagements, designed to provide a city-based platform for artists and writers to pursue new ways of working and engaging with audiences. This project brings a dedicated program of exhibitions that is evocative and unique to the Adelaide Town Hall.
This year's Emerging Curator, Steph Cibich, has curated an exhibition of South Australian contemporary artists titled Our Future in the Landscape.
As the exhibiition has been unavailable to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, the exhibition can now be viewed through a virtual tour that includes a voiceover from the curator herself, Steph Cibich (transcribed below).
Our Future in the Landscape
Steph Cibich, the 2020 Artworks Emerging Curator, offers us her insight into the Adelaide Town Hall exhibition Our Future in the Landscape:
Our Future in the Landscape demonstrates and encourages positive climate action, declaring our collective responsibility to address one of the most pressing issues of our age.
Our Future in the Landscape begins in Mankurri-api Kuu, the Reconciliation room at the Adelaide town hall. In Our Future in the Landscape, Mankurri-api Kuu displays two artworks by James Tylor, courtesy of GAGPROJECTS, Adelaide. He investigates Australian cultural representations through the perspectives of his multicultural heritage, which comprises Nunga, Ghana, Maori, and European ancestry. Using experimental and historical photographic processes, Tylor creates contemporary artworks that reference Ghana indigenous culture, Australian society, and the South Australian landscape. These two works explore Tylor's connection with Ghana land through learning, researching, documenting, and traveling on country.
They were taken during a two year period where the artists traveled and photographed different regions and environments of Ghana and surrounding Nunga regions. The artists painted over the European medium of photography with ochre, pipe clay, and charcoal. He uses number designs to represent Nunga people's intellectual, spiritual, and physical connections with country. The ochre and charcoal on the photographs are a physical presentation of the landscape. In this sense, they acknowledge and pay respect to Nunga people and their rich cultural, spiritual, and physical connection to the landscape of South Australia. These two works are part of Tylor's Turalayinthi Yartha series. This is a Ghana phrase, meaning to see yourself in the landscape or landscape photography, and directly inspired the title and themes for our exhibition.
Upstairs in the first floor gallery, Our Future in the Landscape continues with work by Lara Tilbrook. Tilbrook is a South Australian artist and goldsmith based on Kangaroo Island. Tilbrook's earthy organic treasures are intricately fashioned from found materials with a focus on environmental preservation inspired by her conservational practices. Modeled in a custom made old style display cabinet, the presentation of this work is both elegant and unsettling. The cabinet houses and impeccably crafted necklace made from echidna bone and copper. Titled National Treasure, the work was made in 2013. Tilbrook's description of the work reads, "In loving memory of the endangered Kangaroo Island echidna found on the road side."
Adelaide artist Jake Holmes works across a variety of mediums, including screen printing, mural painting, illustration, audio, and collage. His practice documents place and interrogates contemporary, social and political issues. These works are from his poster series, Writing the Climate, which was presented in 2019 as part of the Guildhouse Collections project in partnership with the Flinders University Art Museum. Each poster utilises a letter from the alphabet as a way to illustrate key factors contributing to the increasing climate change as well as its urban and ecological impact. In this way, every poster is laid with meaning. Holmes selected and arranged these posters specifically for Our Future in the Landscape. Together, they invite close inspection and consideration of the many factors surrounding climate change and promote our civic responsibilities for positive climate action.
SA Artists for Climate Action
Our Future in the Landscape celebrates environmental leadership and positive climate action in the community. This is especially true in the work of local artist collective SA Artists for Climate Action. In an attempt to instigate positive action, other artists were encouraged to use their existing skills and knowledge to create their own climate badge and send it to someone they believe is doing positive climate action. Now, the project has grown and includes badges by other artists, teachers, children, and various members of the community. Recipients include neighbors, council members, politicians, artists, and environmental activists. Makers and recipients are encouraged to share their experiences on Instagram using the hashtag #climatebadges. This display features a selection of badges, letters and social media posts by participating artists and recipients. Badges are also displayed on a pair of firefighters' overalls belonging to one of the artists and reflecting positive community action in the face of recent bush fires. The display even includes a response letter from Sir David Attenborough who received a hand painted budgerigar badge from artist Zoe Freney.
Our Future in the Landscape also includes work by established artists and important members of our local arts community. Nici Cumpston in who is of Afghan, English, Irish, and Barkindji Aboriginal heritage, is a descendant of the Darling River people of Northwestern New South Wales. She's also culturally affiliated with the River Murray people and lived for some years at Berri in the South Australian Riverland. Her work, Oh My Murray Darling, made in 2019, speaks to this connection in light of current environmental emergencies. Courtesy of the artist and Michael Reid Gallery, the work was a finalist in the 2019 Telstra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards presented by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
It features a raw shock of semi emerged trees and skyline folded, and then reflected against the River Murray. Cumpston's work highlights the importance of our environment, particularly our river systems, which are currently in a state of crisis. This depiction of precious trees and waterways creates a sense of reverence and provides an important platform to share stories of Aboriginal occupation and ongoing survival on Aboriginal land.
Louise Flaherty is an Adelaide based artist and arts worker whose practice involves working closely with the community in collections. Her work is inspired by the original flora of the Adelaide Plains in a long term project titled Memorial for Forgotten Plants. Flaherty's practice develops meticulous ink drawings and plant material installations, which detailed the native flora across the many different suburbs and ecosystems of South Australia. Our Future in the Landscape features a framed selection of delicate white ink drawings on brown paper.
An extension of her current practice, Dunes, demonstrates environmental leadership as it is focused on seeking out and learning about the native flora of Adelaide, creating detailed botanic drawings and then sharing this knowledge with the community. Dunes invites close inspection of its finer details, encouraging audiences to stop think, and look again.
You can read more about ART WORKS and the exhibition by visiting the Guildhouse website.